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All Science on Tap events take place at 6pm the second Monday of the month at National Mechanics, 22 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106, unless otherwise stated. Be sure to arrive early to get seats!


September 11, 2017

Ancient Architects: The 5,000-Year Lead Up To America’s First City

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1887 illustration of Monk’s Mound at Cahokia.

Larger than the city of London at the time, the ancient city of Cahokia thrived in what is now rural Illinois from AD 1050 – 1300. In addition to creating beautiful artifacts and participating in elaborate rituals, the 20,000 people who inhabited this city constructed massive earthen mounds. While the mounds at Cahokia are some of the largest and most elaborate examples of pre-Columbian monumental architecture in the United States, the practice of mound building has a 5,000 year history. This talk investigates the origins of America’s first city by considering these precursors.

kassabaum-bio-photo.jpgAbout the speaker: Dr. Megan Kassabaum is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Penn and the Weingarten Assistant Curator for North America at the Penn Museum. She is prehistoric archeologist interested in the archaeology of food and communal ritual and spends her summers digging in the heat of the American South. She has worked on prehistoric Native American mound sites throughout the eastern United States since 1999 and curated an exhibit about this work that opened at the Penn Museum this summer.

September’s talk is hosted by the Penn Museum.